Redhat has unveiled an open-source project called Mugshot that some bloggers are labeling a MySpace-style open-source social network product. The development team has supposedly gleaned all the best bits from the various social networking websites currently out there, mixed them together with some Web 2.0-goodness and created Mugshot.
The Mugshot team disagrees. In a post on the developers blog, they argue that Mugshot is not designed to replace MySpace, Orkut, et. al. at all. Instead, Mugshot complements these, and other, web services.
So what is Mugshot?
Mugshot consists of two parts; a client app and a server component. From the user’s perspective, it’s a glorified contact list, with some nifty extras that integrate with other sites. For example, to sign-in, you can use your AIM screenname. And with Mugshot, you could automatically publish your iTunes playlist history to your MySpace profile. Or you could share links, and comment on them — like Digg. The goal here is not necessarily to displace or replace the existing web services you already use, but to work with them and enhance them. This is true with links, music, IM and eventually other services such as Flickr.
While I agree that this approach is not an “open source MySpace” as some have sensationally hawked it, but it is a social networking tool. In fact, I’d argue that Mugshot ismore of a social networking tool than MySpace, in the purest sense of the phrase. Mugshot won’t get you thousands of so-called friends that you don’t really know. It leverages your real friends, and their friends.
Of course, being from Redhat it’ll run on Linux, but at least there will also be a compatible client for Windows.
The Mugshot beta is closed, but you can sign-up and they’ll notify you when they ready for more testers. Or if you’re the kind who likes to muck around in the code, visit the Mugshot Developers Wiki.